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Business News of Sunday, 31 March 2019


World Bank pledges more support for agriculture

The World Bank has pledged more funding for agricultural initiatives in the country to boost productivity and provide sustainable livelihoods to vulnerable groups, especially’ women.

The Vice-President of the Bank for Africa, Dr Hafez Ghanem, who gave the assurance, said investing in technology-driven agriculture was the way to go to promote inclusion in the agricultural sector, reduce poverty and also fight hunger in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He, however, stated that while the bank was ready to support initiatives that would boost agriculture, especially for women groups, it was important for persons who led in implementing the programmes to be diligent to ensure that the resources made the desired impact on the target groups.

Dr Ghanem, who is in Ghana on an official visit, made the pledge when he toured some projects that the bank had supported over the years in the Greater Accra, Eastern, and Volta regions.

World Bank investments

Over the years, the World Bank has been a strong pillar in terms of providing funding support to Ghana's education, health, agriculture, energy, sanitation and service sectors.

Between 2007 and 2017, the bank released $75 million to support the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP), an initiative that leveraged technology to promote agriculture in Ghana and other countries in the sub-region.

The bank also provided $150 million to support the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) water and sanitation project, aimed at dealing with the water and sanitation challenges in the Greater Accra Region.

In November, 2018, the bank approved $35 million to support the second phase of the Land Administration Project (LAP 2), which is the government’s effort at improving services and efficiency of the Lands Commission.

The visit by Dr Ghanem to Akuse and other areas was, therefore, meant to assess the impact of the World Bank’s investments in the agricultural sector through the WAAPP initiative and to explore further areas of support to the sector.

His entourage included the Country Director of the World Bank in charge of Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr Henry Kerali.

The team visited Rosh Pinna Farms, located at Akuse in the Dangme-West District in the Greater Accra Region, where women groups are engaged in vegetable farming, using greenhouse technology.

The five greenhouses used by the women were provided by the World Bank in 2016 at a cost of $43,000 through the WAAPP initiative.

The project provides livelihoods to 20 women who produce vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and pepper.

A poultry farm which has 100 birds at the budding stage, forms part of the project.

The Executive Director of Rosh Pinnah Foundation, Dr Florence Vanderpuye, explained that the greenhouses had been of immense benefit to the women.

More support

Dr Ghanem expressed satisfaction with the impact of the greenhouse project on the lives of the women and said the bank was ready to provide funds for five more of such facilities.

“The World Bank wants to invest in impactful projects like this one because it will not only help to fight poverty but will also help to end hunger, empower women, improve nutrition and achieve many of the sustainable development goals (SDGs),” he said.

Dr Vanderpuye expressed gratitude to WAAPP and the World Bank for the support and said when more funds were made available to Rosh Pinnah Farms, it would boost the livelihoods of the women.

She added that the farm thrived on a drift irrigation system and drew water from the Akuse Dam to conserve moisture at the greenhouses.

She said the target was to ensure that each of the women earned $100 a month from the farm in the next three years.

Other visits

The team also visited VegPro Ghana Limited, a Ghana-based Indian company, located at Fodzoku in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region.

It has vast acreages of tree crops such as avocado, mango and baby corn, which are processed mainly for the European market.

The General Manager of the company, Mr Gareth Wilkie, said about 600 permanent local workers earned their livelihoods from the company's production chain.

The team also visited the Akosombo Dam site to observe how the plant was operating.